Senior Travel to Italy

Old Oct 11th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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Senior Travel to Italy

I want to send my mother to Rome and Florence. She is sixty and walks with a limp. I am looking for a tour, she will be alone and want a tour that she will not feel lonely. Thanks for the help.
ccountykerri is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2007, 12:40 PM
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Elderhostel offers wonderful tours.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 01:59 PM
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Hi cc,

If whe will be gone for 2 weeks, might interest her.

ira is offline  
Old Oct 11th, 2007, 04:32 PM
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DH & I are in our 60's. We took a Globus tour, Best of Italy, 12 days. We booked thru for a 10% discount. May not be a good tour for your Mother, as our tour was very fast paced, up very early, day ended late. However, you could check out the website for a "leisurely" tour.

We loved the folks on our bus. Still in contact with some of them. The tour guide was excellent, the bus was new, the hotels were good to great but sometimes not in the center, but that did not matter to us since we mostly stayed with the group.

I've read that Trafalger is about the same as Globus.

You might also talk with a travel agent. Even if you don't book with that agent, you can get some good tips & brochures.

Also, pre-trip decision, I got brochures for all of the companies & compared rates, itinerary, & what was included versus optional.

Good luck, Julie
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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What about a Tauck tour. We haven't been on one but several of our friends have and they have been very pleased. I understand they handle everything. From what I understand they're a first rate company.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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First, I must say that when you said Senior Travel to Italy, I thought your mother would be 80, not 60. That is senior in my mind.

I went on a tour my first time to Europe and really enjoyed getting to know people from all over the world... Australia, South Africa, China, India, Jamaica, UK and the US. I am going on a tour to Morocco with Cosmos next week. They are budget but usually have varying ages and nationalities. I am going on a 2 month trip solo for the rest of the time and look forward to this period with other travelers. Tours have their drawbacks but also some very positive points. It is nice on occasion to leave the details to others.

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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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Does she want a tour, or do you want a tour for her? I turned sixty this year, have recently recovered from a broken ankle, and am about to leave on a month trip from Budapest to Venice, on my own. No tour needed. But if she really wants a tour, she could look at the Rick Steves' Venice-Florence-Rome tour.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 09:10 PM
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a tour may not be the best thing for your Mom.

Just a couple of reasons:

- the Elderhostel mentioned above does great tours. But they are not for the infirm. They are for healthy/active seniors who are up to a fair amount of physical activity.

- Rick Steeves tours are also good. But on most RS jaunts folks are responsible for their own luggage and there is a TON of walking.

If it were me, I'd want to settle in Rome and Florence for 4 or 5 days each and take day trips w/ local tour companies. There'd be less packing/unpacking and if she was having a bad day she could just stay put and enjoy a leisurely lunch or whatever w/o having to jump on a coach at 8 a.m.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 09:20 PM
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Hello ccountykerri, I have never taken a tour but the friends that I know that have often have come home very exhausted even though they do not have any physical problems.

I like janisj's idea. But of course it all depends on what your mother prefers. Do read the various tour brochures carefully and know that "seeing" something can mean driving by in a bus versus visiting a site for example. Best regards.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 10:11 PM
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Why does your mother limp? Is it a localized problem like an injury that is healing or is it an infirmity related to other physical difficulties? If the limp is not caused by an injury that is in the process of healing, then my suggestion would be a question: can you go with your mother on a trip that would allow you to arrange for tours on certain days and for days off from tours on other days. That way, your mother would not always be "on the go" but would have a chance to spend a day here and there savoring the passing scene. Just a thought...
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 06:38 AM
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I second IRA's recommendaton for untours. I am working with a small group of senion ladies and these tours are quite appealing to them.

Does she go to church? My mom put a small group of widows together from her church and they are looking at a few trips.

Rome will be harder on her than Florence, IMO, unless she does well in cities like New York. Avoid the summers due to heat and crowds.

I suggest you consider a river cruise. These are very small boats, about 100 passengers, they go into smaller ports, have lots of included tours, cater to a mostly senior crowd, are low key and friendly. It might work better than a tour and she is likely to meet others.
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 07:09 AM
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I've seen people in Italy sitting in the lobby, all there luggage around, waiting for their tour bus, and they looked miserable. From what I've heard from friends that go on tours, there's a lot of bus riding, then dropped off for a few hours, then bussed again, and dropped off.I suggest she hotels, close to the towns that she'll be in,to give her access to either go a short distance, or take a day tour from the hotel & back. And at 60, the limb doesn't make her old. Also, there's so much action in Florence that she'll be to entertained to be lonely - Rome however, is a rather fast city. May be best to have her pin-point what she wants to see & do in Rome, and there again, arrange it through the hotel.
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 10:16 AM
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Good point from JanisJ. My 60 year old friend who does all the Elderhostel tours is in excellent physical shape. She is usually the youngest in her groups.

I thought of it more because they focus on educational opportunities and encourage comraderie that the OP was seeking.
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 10:30 AM
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I have done two 15-day tours with this company and the attention to detail was wonderful, with very personable program managers. Obviously, there was time on a bus between locations, but with frequent rest stops. At times our groups were even split into "faster walkers" and "slower walkers" to accommodate the diffrences in age/agility. Vantage caters to the "retired" age group - as preferred to "senior."
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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I too heartily recommend a Tauck tour. I just returned from my fourth tour with them at the end of September. I have traveled with a companion and as a single traveler, and each time was wonderful. Everyone on our tour was very friendly, and the single travelers never had to dine alone, unless they actually wanted to do so. I had my own room, but your mother could actually share a room with another female traveler. (I believe that Tauck would arrange it, and your mother would pay the cheaper "double" rate; if no female traveler was available, she would have her own room, still at the double rate).

On a travel morning, your luggage is picked up in your room. It is brought to you after your arrival at the next hotel. The tour directors are always great--helpful, interesting, well-informed, creative. Tauck stays at wonderful, almost always, 5-star hotels in central locations. All sightseeing listed in the itinerary is included, and no extras are peddled.

I have seen many travelers 60 and above on the tours and think that your mother would be very happy.

Most who criticize tours haven't toured with the right company. It is much easier to maneuver around a foreign country when you are not trying to drive your 60-year old self or heft your luggage from platform to train. Tauck spends as little time driving as necessary, and the coach drops you right where you need to be. I am only 35 and like to plan and tour on my own once I arrive at my destination, but I don't like handling my large bags. Also, staying at 5-star, centrally located hotels for several weeks can be cost-prohibitive when booking 1 room; Tauck's buying power removes that problem.

If your mother wants to travel first class and not be alone, check out Tauck.
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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About Elderhostel: on the website, they have now posted the degrees of difficulty with explanation how many miles a day of walking, how long standing, stairts, etc...

All European programs are on more difficult scale, out of 5 - 3 and up, so check it out if it's OK for your mom.

If you never been on a tour, be aware also that a "leasurly" tour is usually a tour with more "optionals", meaning they will have more additional tours to sell, can you mom say "no"?

An organized tour may work for her as usually the tour guides, who want to be tipped, will tell her where to rest while the group climbs something, or maybe to skip an activity. It will also offer more free time to rest, to take a slow walk.

For a European trip I would pick a tour like Globus or Cosmos over Elderhostel - any tour depending on how much you're willing to pay.
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Old Oct 12th, 2007, 10:03 PM
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My mother enjoyed Tauck tours into her 80s. We always had to talk her into spending the money (Tauck tours are a bit more pricey), and she always came home and agreed the trip was worth the cost. Every trip was "wonderful," "fabulous."
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Old Oct 17th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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we sent my MIL on a Tauck tour recently and she LOVED it. It was very well run, very high end and she met many wonderful people. She travelled alone and had her own room, but she made friends with people on the tour and never had to dine alone. She did say though that it was a lot of walking for her, but it was a trip of a lifetime. she's a young 70 with no physical ailments.
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Old Oct 17th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Just returned yesterday from my first Tauck tour ( Italy). I would approach any tour with caution especially if there are physical limitations. The crowds were huge in Italy which meant that we waited in long lines even with a booking. It was also very crowded and there was a great deal of walking involved not to mention stair climbing. Several people in our group had problems keeping up. Even with the help of special taxis,lifts etc., they found it very tiring.

IMO janisj's option is the best. Even going on a Tauck tour will not limit the physical aspect of walking and climbing steps. If you do decide on a tour please inform them of your mother's limitations. They should be able to advise you as to how best to proceed.
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Old Oct 20th, 2007, 07:23 PM
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We've been on a number of Tauck tours. In most of them, there has been one or more people who had some trouble getting around. The catalogues are pretty clear on the amount of walking (and the difficulty) involved but they are very good about not requiring people to do what they are not comfortable doing. In some cases, they have paid for taxis to restaurants out in the country for people who cannot/don't want to go on the tour of the day. There are also, typically, single people such as your mother.
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